Getting down on your knees and kneeling (maybe asking) for forgiveness shouldn’t be the only time you’re on your knees. Now if you are thinking what I’m thinking,  stop now. This is NOT the subject of this article. This is a family blog about exercising and not what you’re thinking.

You can exercise in various positions like standing, seated, and lying face up or face down on the floor. Most people exercise there and they’re all good positions.  

But getting down on your knees in the tall kneeling or half kneeling are two legitimate body positions to lift from too.

Here I’ll explain the benefits of exercising there and two exercises each in the tall kneeling and half kneeling positions. Spending more time down on your knees comes in handy if you get into trouble like me. 😊  

Benefits of the Tall Kneeling Position

The tall kneeling position helps you with posture and balance and puts some juice in your caboose. Think of it this a front plank but only on your knees. Exercising from here has a few important benefits including

Improves your hip strength, endurance, and hip mobility because your entire posterior is engaged.

If you have less than optimal posture or struggle to balance on one leg. This position reduces your base of support and improves these two factors.

When you reduce your base of support, it’s easier to see any form deviations. For example, the overarching of the lower back when doing a tall kneeling overhead press.

This adds more core work because of your inability to ‘cheat’ the weight up. You can cheat, but it may end badly for you. 😊

2 Tall Kneeling Exercises

Tall Kneeling Lat Pulldown

The lat pulldown is a great exercise to strengthen your biceps, upper back, and lats, and the tall kneeling variation takes this up a notch. This variation trains the entire backside and helps you better focus on the working muscles.  Because if you cheat here, it is a ready-made video for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

How to do it: Can be done on the lat pulldown machine or the cable machine. If you have neither of those, a resistance band attached to a squat rack works.  Take an overhand or underhand grip and get down on your knees and engage your butt. With your arms extended pull the bar down under your chin, pause and slowly return to the starting position.

Programming suggestion: Two to four sets of six to 15 reps work well.

Tall Kneeling Overhead Pallof Press

Pallof press is a great stand-alone exercise but adding some tall kneeling into the equation takes great lateral core stability and anti-rotation exercise to the next level. If you have a hard time ‘feeling’ your abs, this exercise is the cure.  

How to do it: I like to do this with a band. Attach a band around hip height and the band over your shoulders while getting in the tall kneeling position. With a slight stretch in the band and holding it shoulder-width apart, press slowly above your head without arching your lower back. Return your hands to shoulder height and repeat.  

Programming suggestion: One to two sets of eight to 12 reps as part of your warm-up will get you in the groove.

Benefits of the Half-Kneeling Position

The half-kneeling position should be your go-to stretch to open up your hip flexors, but it’s a handy position to lift from too. Here are four benefits of lifting from the half-kneeling position.

By lowering your center of mass, you can move your hips and shoulders without too much compensation from your lower back. This helps if you’re suffering from low back pain.

Improves your core and glute strength.

A narrower base of support will also help dial in your form because if anything is amiss you will receive instant feedback by losing your balance.

 Improves your hip mobility if this is an issue for you.  

Two-Half Kneeling Exercises

Half Kneeling Single Arm Pulldown

The 45-degree angle of this variation makes this more shoulder-friendly than other vertical pulling exercises. If shoulder mobility is a problem for you this is perfect. Plus, you will strengthen imbalances between sides while receiving all the benefits of training in the half-kneeling position.

How to do it: Again, I like to do this with a band, but a cable machine is great too. Hold the band in your right hand with your right knee on the ground in the half-kneeling position. With your arm outstretched row your right elbow towards your right hip until you feel a muscle contraction in your upper back. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.

Programming suggestion: Higher reps are good here. Two to three sets of 12 to15 reps per side will have you feeling the burn.

Half Kneeling KB Bottoms Up Press

The half-kneeling bottoms-up kettlebell press improves shoulder stability, shoulder strength, and hip mobility all at once. If you don’t have a kettlebell, a dumbbell works too. Holding the bottoms up KB creates more tension in the arm which gives you higher intensity at a reduced weight. It’s a shoulder press with the lot.

How to do it: Assume the half-kneeling position and grip tight a lighter kettlebell bottoms up, having the horn directly above your wrist.  Press keeping the KB facing upwards and your elbow underneath the center of the kettlebell. Lockout with biceps close to the ear and lower down slowly and repeat.

Programming suggestion: Let the weaker side decide the reps and weight. This requires you to do the exercise first and it will be obvious which side isn’t as strong. Two to three sets of six to 12 reps are enough.

Wrapping Up

See, getting on your knees wasn’t so bad, was it? Lifting from your knees may help spark your fat loss or muscle-building gains and there was no begging for forgiveness involved. That may come later. 


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